By Bryan Meadows -
A Dryden-area gunsmith will help lead a court challenge against Bill C-68,
federal gun control legislation that requires the country's gun owners to
register their firearms.
William Bruce Montague was released from police custody Tuesday on bail
after being charged Sept. 11 with several firearm violations including
unauthorized possession of firearms.
Montague, a provincial representative of the Canadian Unregistered Firearms
Owners Association (CUFOA), said he has participated in a dozen rallies
since 2003 with others across the country who oppose Bill C-68, challenging
the government to arrest them for refusing to register their firearms.
"I was trying to get arrested the past 20 months," Montague said in an
He said "this is the first (firearms) charge with any meat on it."
"We're looking forward to taking it in front of a judge.
"This will be the first chance to take a real good look at (the
controversial gun registration requirement) . . . the first real chance of
defeating this law."
According to its website, the CUFOA maintains the Firearms Act of 1995
violates at least seven specific rights and freedoms guaranteed to all
Canadian citizens under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the
Canadian Bill of Rights, the Canadian Constitution, the British North
America Act, English Common Law, the English Bill of Rights and the Magna
Plagued by cost overruns, the gun registry has been criticized by several
groups including the CUFOA, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters,
provincial cabinet ministers and some police services.
Opponents also say the act violates rights to privacy, security of person,
presumption of innocence, association, representation, mobility, and freedom
from unreasonable search and seizure.
Montague, 45, spent the past week in jail after being arrested by OPP
officers at a Sept. 11 gun show in Dryden.
While he "kind of welcomed the arrest," Montague said he was surprised at
the aggressiveness of the police action.
"It is kind of hard to describe . . . they tried to make me out as an
aggressive man, which I am not," said Montague who has been a gunsmith for
more than 17 years.
Montague is charged with two counts of unauthorized possession of firearms,
careless storage of a firearm, unlawful possession of an explosive and
failure to use reasonable care of an explosive.
His wife Donna Jeanne Montague, 44, is charged with unauthorized possession
of firearms and two counts of careless storage of a firearm.
Police took firearms from the couple's rural home during searches on Sept.
11 and on Tuesday, said Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the Attorney
Dryden Crown attorney Peter Keen said Wednesday that he couldn't comment on
information released at Montague's bail hearing in Sioux Lookout because the
investigation is ongoing.
"Most of it is not public record," Keen said, adding the CUFOA has not
provided formal notice of a Constitutional challenge to his office, nor to
the Office of the Attorney General.
Bruce Montague returns to Dryden court Nov. 15, while Donna's next court
appearance is Oct. 25.
The Montagues have retained the services of Thornhill, Ont., lawyer Ed
Bruce said CUFOA has set up a trust fund for the court challenge.
"While there's not a lot of money in it right now, we're hoping the
community at-large will pitch in and make the fight a winnable one," he
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